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German Released in Prisoner Swap with Tehran

Tuesday 18 February 2020

TEHRAN (Ruptly) — A German citizen who was jailed in Iran was released on Monday as part of a prisoner swap said the country’s judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaeili, during a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.

In exchange, the Iranian citizen Ahmad Khalil who was detained in Germany over charges of suspected breach of US sanction on Tehran was released on Sunday.

The spokesperson explained that the German national “was arrested a long time ago because of capturing photos of some prohibited areas”, and was consequently sentenced to three years in prison.

According to reports, Khalil flew home on Sunday in the company of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who was in Germany at the time for the Munich Security Conference.

Esmaeili said:

On Sunday, we insisted on sending back the Iranian national first. On Sunday, the Iranian national was sent back to Iran and we, through using legal possibilities, released this German national on Monday and he will get back his country.

Excerpts from the press conference in Persian:

We were really sorry that a file was created first, under the name of bypassing sanctions in the US for one of our Iranian nationals who was doing business and trade and unlike international regulations, he was under the prosecution of the US’s legal system. However, he was not in the US and he did not do anything to the US and Americans. Due to the presence of our dear citizen in Germany, through the US’s request, this person was detained through Germany’s legal system and was detained for a long time.

[…]

The US insisted on transferring this person [Iranian prisoner] from Germany to the US to be sentenced there. The efforts of both the foreign ministry and judicial system were in order to return this dear citizen to Iran. Prisoners are generally swapped on such occasions. A German national, who was arrested a long time ago because of capturing photos of some prohibited areas, and his file was sent to the court and he was sentenced to three years in prison.

[…]

During the legal process, we announced that we are ready to release this German citizen under the facilities of Islamic penal laws, which are considered for those who are sentenced. Under the condition that they do not send our citizen to the US and return to Iran. Fortunately, on Sunday, we insisted on sending back the Iranian national first. On Sunday, the Iranian national was sent back to Iran and we, through using legal possibilities, released this German national on Monday and he will get back his country.


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